Game Forty-One – Cubs 1 Padres 3
WP – Josh Geer (1-1) LP – Randy Wells (0-1) Save – Edward Mujica (1)
One week ago the Cubs offense picked up the bullpen and improved to a season-high seven games over .500…what a difference a week makes during a baseball season. The Cubs dropped their sixth in a row and will enter play on Sunday just a game over .500. The Cubs are not hitting and were held to just a single run, a solo home run by Derrek Lee in the second inning.
For the second night in a row the Cubs tried to mount a comeback in the ninth inning. Milton Bradley led off with a single to right and Derrek Lee followed with a single to left center. Micah Hoffpauir hit a smash straight to Adrian Gonzalez with runners on first and third with no outs. The Padres’ first baseman stepped on the bag, checked Bradley at third, threw to second and doubled off Derrek Lee. Geovany Soto worked the count to 3-2 but struck out looking to end the game.
Josh Geer won his first game of the year and the third of his big league career. The Cubs offense allowed him to get comfortable and into a rhythm on the mound. For some reason the Cubs did not step out of the box and try to shake up the young pitcher’s confidence. Geer allowed one run on five hits in 6 2/3 innings with a career-high seven strikeouts. The Cubs did not manage a single walk against Geer…or on the night.
The Cubs have scored only three runs on the road trip on 26 hits.
Randy Wells pitched at excellent game and should be 3-0 instead of 0-1 this season. Wells made only two mistakes and both cost him runs. Wells surrendered three runs on five hits with a walk, a hit batsman and a career-high seven strikeouts in seven innings of work.
Wells’ scoreless innings streak ended in the fourth inning after he hit Edgar Gonzalez on a 3-2 pitch with one-out. Scott Hairston blooped a two-out single into center, the first hit off Wells, and both runners scored on a double down the left field line by Brian Giles.
The Padres third run came in the seventh. Nick Hundley reached on a two-out infield single and advanced to second on a balk by Randy Wells. Chris Burke hit a soft liner just past Wells into center that allowed Hundley to score.
Ron Santo summed up the road trip in the seventh inning…”I’m lost for words. I cannot believe what I am seeing.” There is not much that can be said about the Cubs horrible offense that has not been said over the last week. The Cubs are simply not hitting and the smokescreens that led to winning streak a week ago have been exposed. The entire team is slumping at the same time.
The second inning on Saturday night began with such promise. Derrek Lee hit his fifth home run of the season to the deepest part of PETCO. The Cubs took their first lead in a game since last Sunday against the Astros. Every player on the Cubs’ bench was wearing rally caps and appeared very loose as they congratulated Lee in the dugout.
Geovany Soto reached on a one-out single to left and Mike Fontenot followed with a single to right. The Cubs recorded back-to-back hits. Bobby Scales flied out to left and Randy Wells flied out to right center to end the inning…and that was it. The Cubs managed only two more hits against Josh Geer.
Josh Geer retired 10 in a row before a single to center by Mike Fontenot with two outs in the seventh…and had struck out four of the previous five before Fontenot’s second hit of the game.
For all of the problems over the last five games, the Cubs starting staff has been excellent. If the Cubs were scoring any runs they could easily have won their last five instead of losing all of the games.
Randy Wells made a statement that he wants to remain in the big leagues. Wells did not lose the ballgame…it is hard to be perfect and not allow the other team to score.
It is time for changes but with the pending ownership change now slated to take place sometime in August, it might hard for Jim Hendry to take on any additional payroll. The offense must quit pressing and just play the game…
Ted Lilly will try to salvage the last game of the series and the road trip on Sunday afternoon. The offense again will not get a break with Chris Young on the mound.